What ChatGPT Really Means to Cloud Ecosystems

ChatGPT became a worldwide phenomenon in just few months. A prototype of ChatGPT, a conversational chatbot, was introduced in November 2022. In two months prototype users surpassed over 100 million active users.

This introduction to a very advanced generative AI has spurred a quickly expanding ripple effect. The battle is on who is the leader in the AI between tech giants including Microsoft, Alphabet, Meta and Apple.

Why ChatGPT matters

ChatGPT uses advanced AI techniques called Large Language Models (LLM). They include Generative AI with transformers, a deep learning model, hence the name GPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer).

Why ChatGPT has gained great popularity so fast? This AI tool was made easily accessible to anyone through a browser. You can type questions, get answers and continue the chat with subsequent questions.

ChatGPT supports a wide range of languages. In the past NLP (Natural Language Processing) has supported widely spoken languages like English and Spanish. The difference with ChatGPT is that it also supports small languages, even Finnish and Estonian. This is a remarkable achievement by itself and is greatly appriciated by people from small language groups.

The responses and dialoques with ChatGPT can often be surprisingly convincing. However, the chatbot also provides wrong answers to very simple questions, even “dangerous hallucinations”. Since the latest ChatGPT version is relying on training data up to 2021 no recent events are referenced as of now.

Google Search is challenged by a competitor

Microsoft invested 10 billion dollars in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT initially in 2019 and again in January 2023.

The initial prototype for ChatGPT got so much attention that Microsoft announced a preview of “the new Bing” with ChatGPT integrated to the Bing search engine in early February 2023.

AI Cloud Ecosystem with OpenAI
AI Cloud Ecosystem with OpenAI

Google’s answer to Microsoft is to publish Bard, a chatbot search engine. This launch did not go too well due to the Bard providing incorrect answers in the ad for this new chatbot. The failed launch even resulted Alphabet stock to fall and Alphabet market value to lose $100 billion.

Now it was Microsoft’s turn to take steps to limit the chat durations in the new Bing chatbot preview due to strange conversions detected by journalists.

Both search chatbots had a rocky start. This is expected for new products and perhaps more so for these new bots using generative AI. However, the real story behind this search engine rivalry is much more ground-breaking.

Microsoft goes AI for its products

Microsoft is in full speed to integrate OpenAI-based AI tools into its offering in several domains, including developer tools.

Microsoft bought GitHub some years ago and similarly open-sourced Visual Studio Code editor for developers.

GitHub Copilot, “an AI assistant to developers” was lauched in 2022 with the underlying OpenAI Codex engine coming from OpenAI. GitHub Copilot and the upcoming Copilot X also integrates with Visual Studio Code.

The “copilot” concept as an assistant has been extended to other Microsoft Office products including Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint and Word. Similarly Microsoft’s ERP system Dynamics 365 gets the Copilot to assist in the repetivive tasks.

AICloudEcosystem with Microsoft and Salesforce
AI Cloud Ecosystem with Microsoft and Salesforce

OpenAI partnerships go beyond Microsoft ecosystem. Another cloud ecosystem is around Salesforce which has now a partnership with OpenAI. Salesforce also earlier acquired Mulesoft, Tableau, and most recently Slack in 2021.

Salesforce announced Einstein GPT featuring generative CRM AI to create content for Salesforce CRM, Tableau and Mulesoft. Slack will get ChatGPT integration to produce AI-generated content.

This setup creates a unique competition between Microsoft and Salesforce ecosystems which both integrate OpenAI products to their offering:

  • Business Analytics: Power BI vs. Tableau
  • Business Messaging: Teams vs. Slack
  • CRM: Dynamics CRM vs. Salesforce CRM

What’s Next for AI ecosystems

The plot thickens when looking at the AI companies around Microsoft, Alphabet and Meta ecosystems.

AI Cloud Ecosystems
AI Cloud Ecosystems

Alphabet owns the UK-based DeepMind which among other tools also has its own Sparrow chatbot. Alphabet also announced an API for its Large Language Model PaLM AI.

Microsoft and Alphabet ecosystem are both enchancing their competing products with generative AI:

  • Search engines and browsers
    • Bing vs. Bard and Google Search
    • Egde vs. Chrome
  • Business Messaging
    • Outlook vs. Google Mail
    • Teams vs. Google Meet
  • Business Productivity Tools
    • Excel vs. Google Sheet
    • Powerpoint vs. Google Slide
    • Word vs. Google Doc

Meta follows in the AI competition with its AI offering planned to be integrated into Facebook and WhatsApp. Meta released its large language model LLaMA for researchers.

What will we see in the (near) future

Tech giants race against time as they introduce generative AI into their offerings.

Microsoft is emerging as the powerhouse in the AI due to the tight connections with OpenAI. Similarly, Azure as the public cloud is getting more ground as the public cloud platform.

ChatGPT is currently free. As each query to the chatbot actually costs several cents according to some sources, this free service might turn into a paid service in the future.

The monetization for the “AI as a Service” will appear soon, either through paid subscriptions or higher fees for the products using AI.

EU is enforcing the AI Act to govern the use of AI in the products and services. Responsible AI and Explainable AI will hopefully get more focus in the future.

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